I want you to rock at your next conference – and so does Cindy Royal, the Director of Mass Comm Week at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.

Attending networking events and industry conferences are hugely important when it comes to keeping up with the latest and greatest in your field, meeting with potential customers and clients, learning from leaders doing it right, and gaining outside perspective. The conferences are often held in big cities, they can be expensive, and they can be overwhelming, but for the most part, completely worth it. The beauty of Mass Comm Week is that it’s outside of Austin (my favorite city in the US), and it’s completely free! As Cindy states in the interview, just because it’s a free event, does NOT mean it’s not awesome. (Gary Vaynerchuk was a speaker during his launch of Crush It).

I spoke with Cindy about the upcoming Mass Communications Week, which is filled with innovative speakers from the journalism, digital media, and public relations fields. In this interview below, Cindy and I discuss:

  1. What goes into planning a week-long conference to make this messy process seem streamlined
  2. How you should approach industry-specific conferences to get the most out of them
  3. How it’s important to get out there and attend these events even if you don’t have a badge to get in! (…we cover SXSW and a fun project she’s working on, as well).

There are some great quotes in this interview, so make sure to stick around to the end for some tweetables!

Cindy is currently an associate professor at Texas State and she’s helping to lead students toward amazing digital media jobs by providing them with the skills they need to make it in a rapidly changing communications industry. Coming from a boring corporate day job, she knew that she wanted a career in media and she wanted her PhD. After chasing her dream, she has a job she loves and is living proof that if you set your mind to accomplishing your goal, you can achieve it.

“I could have been entering my 40s – bored, unchallenged, & I could have stayed like that for a very long time – but instead, I’m challenged every day and I am learning new things.” – Cindy Royal (TWEET IT)!

“The more you write, the more you create, the more you’re going to explore your creative interests – and if you share that with other people, they are going to notice it” – Cindy Royal (TWEET IT)!

If you’re in the Austin, Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio area, Mass Comm Week is not just for the students – it’s a free event for the public, and they’ve got some incredible speakers this year, including

  • Ethan Zuckerman, Director MIT Center for Civic Media;
  • Annie Werner, Tumblr
  • Mike Leary, Editor, San Antonio Express-News
  • ahem… yours truly
  • and many, many more!

Check out the full schedule

Read speaker bios

(if you’re around, come to Happy Hour at Sean Patrick’s in San Marcos Thursday, November 1 at 5:00)!  

For more information about Cindy’s music passion project discussed at the end of this interview, check out her site, On That Note!

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